Meeting:2009/07/10

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Meeting.png This article covers meeting-related information!

Project meetings are sessions held in the IRC channel of the project to coordinate the efforts and to agree upon important key decisions.

This article contains a list of topics for as well as the results of the first writing department IRC meeting in July 2009.

Contents

Date

Friday, 10th of July 2009, 4PM GMT. If you're unsure the time difference between the timezone you're residing in and GMT, check out this useful website: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/

Type of meeting

Writing department meeting.

List of topics

The basic idea is to have a speaker for every subject who introduces the topic and also leads the discussion for this specific point.

Alternative history

  • Round table discussion
  • When does our game's history branch of the real history?
  • How do we explain the branching?

Current state of the (game) world

This kind of thing needs to be generally agreed on before real story work is done; although good ideas for stories can drive the state of the world.

Childkilling

  • Round table discussion
  • Should the game world feature children and elder people?
  • Should you be able to kill children ingame?
  • What kind of consequences should arise from childkilling?

Climate changes and how they affect the storyline

  • Round table discussion
  • Climate getting warmer again vs. beginning of a new ice age
  • How realistic are both scenarios?
  • Where could we get professional feedback on the topic to ease agreeing upon one approach?

ELL / KSE story proposal

Encroachment of ice age

Results

The agreed upon decisions are listed here. This way it's easier for developers and community members who missed the meeting to get an idea of the general results. Wording of the results for a specific topic should be taken care of by the speaker who introduces the topic.

Alternative history

  • The history of the game world branches from the real world's history shortly before WWIII takes place
  • One proposal how WWIII emergd is described in a thread at the forums and should be wikified: http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=126.0
  • The proposal is based on the Able Archer 83 exercise: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83
  • In the game world's history a (fictional) Able Archer II exercise took place in 1988 and led to an invasion of Soviet ground forces into a yet to agreed upon Western country
  • mvBarracuda will do cold war research to come up with a proposal why Able Archer II escalated, especially as in the real history the relations between the UdSSR and the West were improving after Gorbachev took power in 1985

Current state of the (game) world

  • zenbitz proposed a framework for deciding what the game world will look and play like: State of the world
  • The idea being that this will drive the story (which could, of course, feedback and modify the game world)

Childkilling

  • It was basically agreed that children and child killing could go in the game, but there should be (reasonably) harsh in-game consequences and penalties
  • In general, psychopathic behavior would be allowed but not encouraged; this can be achieved by social sanctions of the game world and their characters (e.g. childkiller repuation in Fallout)
  • A children gang quest has been proposed; just a mere proposal at this point, details are to be fleshed out at a later point
  • Further details on consequences to be determined by NineOfHearts' proposal

Game mechanics

  • We agreed upon that drugs don't give you super powers, but offer a small advantage in a certain area but come with rather severe drawbacks in other fields (high chance of addiction if they're used too often)
  • We agreed upon rather using real drugs over inventing any new ones
  • Considering that we're aiming for a low tech scenario, easy to manufacture drugs like moonshine would be far more common than any more exotic chemical drug
  • There was a discussion on drug effects and possiblilty of using "recreation" (inc. drugs) to counter "stress damage" that occurs in the game; analogous to "sanity damage" in some horror games (e.g. Call of Cthulhu)
  • Stress-based dialog options (losing temper, freaking out) have been proposed as game mechanic
  • The stress proposal needs to be further discussed and fleshed out after that; mvBarracuda will create a thread about it at the forums
  • Character backgrounds were discussed; we considered to let the player character start with different equipment or even in a different place depending on his chosen background

Climate changes and how they affect the storyline

  • We debated (in-game) warming vs. cooling proposal; feeling was roughly split
  • Much of the debate focused on which was better dramatically, which is sort of in the eye of the beholder
  • Had some debate about "realism" and how much it should drive story; we agreed to at least get an expert's opinion if possible, though the experts opinion is not meant to ultimately decide which approach to take alone but is more meant to be one arguments for or against one of the proposals among others
  • Summary of warming proposal: "We also want for the game world to be versatile, nice to look at for the many hours we hope players will play, and realisitc. Hence the desire for the world to thaw."
  • Summary of cooling proposal: "Thawing a world while people are still alive who remember the old ways seems too upbeat and positive". Also, I am working from a "not quite as frozen" starting point as ELL/KSE story wiki represents
  • Questions to climatologists: "Could nuclear winter (possibly enhanced by volcanic activity) trigger an ice age? How fast do ice ages develop?"
  • mvBarracuda agreed upon trying to get in contact with a climatologist to ask these questions to him
  • Zenbitz and NOH agreed upon developing "state of the world" pages futher and concepts on actual game play to help drive background story; this process is meant to clarify what different kind of gameplay the story proposals are linked to

ELL / KSE story proposal

  • NOH introduced the topic: Main story by NineOfHearts and Dave Matney
  • The ELL / KSE proposal is already quite fleshed out in detail; the story is divided into chapters
  • Concern was expressed that this story - while on it's own is very well written and compelling - might be not "sandboxy" enough, leaving more room for freeroam gameplay
  • Concern was raised that the ELL / KSE storyline actually feels like a movie script; the opinion was expressed that a broader, less directed game would be more satisfying to work on
  • It is yet to be determined if the two main factions simply follow a black/white (good/bad) scheme, or if there are shades of grey in their motives and morality
  • We discussed ways to use more generic, "random" beginnings that feed into this story - rather than starting the player "wolfenstien-like" in jail

Encroachment of ice age

  • Zenbitz introduced the topic
  • One of the key mechanics of the encroachment proposal is the generic concept/story of migrating south to keep warm/well fed
  • Concern was expressed about rather bleak, hopeles endings that such a storyline would potentially lead to
  • Other more ambigious endings, including "trick" happy endings were discussed where the the player thinks he's saved the world but either a) fails, b) turns out the world saved itself or c) might have saved the world but it's not certain that he actually has
  • The idea that 10m sheets of ice / snow would cover parts of the game world has been rejected as unrealistic and not desirable
  • The opinion was expressed that both different storyline proposals might not totally exclude each other but the warming/cooling future would have to be resolved in one way or another

Next steps in the storyline process

  • Both sides will be given the chance to present their proposals at the forums so they can receive feedback by all developers
  • It needs to be clarified what kind of gameplay the storyline proposals are meant to primarily feature; this way it should be easier to decide which proposal to agreen upon as it's not a mere question of preference when it comes to writing but more a gameplay decision
  • Once both proposals has been properly discussed at the forums we'll try to agree upon one of them either at the forums or at an IRC meeting; after that chances should be explored if/how/what elements of the other proposal could be incorporated into the agreed upon one

Log

Link to either the starting position of the logs or a complete separate IRC logfile uploaded at the wiki: http://www.unknown-horizons.org/parpglogs/?action=view&chan=parpg&date=2009-07-10&mark=484#484

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